Now is the time to make new plans for the year ahead and look for ways to achieve our best for next year’s bonus. How often do you look at the cows on your farm and consider their performance bonus? For them to be able to achieve what we expect of them, we need to make sure that what we put in is going to allow them to put their best foot forward. So where do we start? The characteristics of an organic trace mineral help identify whether it will be effective in getting us to the goal of a performance bonus. The key characteristics are solubility, stability, absorption and – most important – animal performance.

Organic trace minerals differ in chemical structure and have different chemical properties, which may or may not allow an organic trace mineral to achieve the desired effect. Therefore, understanding how organic trace minerals can affect the performance of a dairy cow, heifer or calf can help you make an informed decision on their use.

An organic trace mineral is a feed ingredient that contains a metal bound to a ligand. These ligands facilitate the passage of the trace mineral through the rumen and enhance absorption through the intestinal wall. The ligand also protects the trace mineral from antagonists that would otherwise bind to the free metal ion and make it  unavailable for absorption. Terminology for different organic trace minerals can become confusing, with definitions such as chelate, proteinate and complex being used. There is a lack of consistency when it comes to these definitions and therefore the only way one can really decide on which organic trace mineral is going to be effective is to look for well researched and repeatable animal performance results. Although we mentioned the key chemical characteristics of an effective trace mineral,  understanding the structure and properties of organic trace minerals only provides insight into expected performance results. Your purchasing decision should be based conclusively on animal performance. No matter how strong a bond or small a ligand or level of improved bioavailability, if there is no economic effect (return on investment) when feeding an organic trace mineral, there is no reason to feed the product.

Peer reviewed articles in scientific journals are a good reference for gathering information on organic trace minerals. It is important not to assume that performance results from one organic trace mineral category or company applies across all types, because they will have different results. The outcome of an effective organic trace mineral is positive animal response.

Zinpro and Chemuniqué are committed to improving the performance success of dairy cows and their calves, through quality trace mineral supplementation, which will ultimately realise the performance bonus goal. Talk to your nutritionist or feed sales representative about the inclusion of Zinpro Performance Minerals in the diets of your cows and calves.

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